The primary source for vermiculite prior to 1990 was a mine located in Montana, later discovered to contain deposits of naturally-occurring asbestos. Heavy use of vermiculite in construction products following World War II resulted in millions of homes and commercial buildings having some form of vermiculite-containing material suspected to be asbestos-containing materials, or ACM.
Both the EPA and state agencies caution property owners against relying on current analysis results when determining whether a vermiculite-containing material is ACM.
New Method Developed by RJ Lee Group Approved by NYS DOH
RJ Lee Group has long pioneered the development of asbestos analysis methodologies. Dr. Richard J. Lee was a member of the EPA’s peer-review panel contributing to development of the Yamate method and served on the EPA’s committee that drafted the transmission electron microscopy (TEM) analytical method for the Asbestos-Containing Materials in Schools rule promulgated by EPA in 1987 under the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) regulation.
Given RJ Lee Group’s extensive knowledge and experience in characterizing asbestos, these calls to action prompted its experts to again advance testing technology for asbestos by developing LAB.055.1*. This was the first method validated and certified by NYS DOH to be capable of accurately detecting and quantifying low levels of asbestos in SOF-V. Most recently, the state has approved a less rigorous method, 198.8. LAB.055.1 is the only method that can be used as an alternative to 198.8. In addition, RJ Lee Group is the only laboratory accredited by NYS DOH to perform the LAB.055.1 method. Lab.055.1 is the only approved method capable of distinguishing between regulated and unregulated asbestos thereby avoiding “false positives” that result from including non-regulated minerals in the final asbestos content or false negatives from lack of dissolution of the vermiculite.
What’s Needed Now
After October 31, 2014 building owners and contractors in New York State must use one of the new analytical methods for all future projects involving the demolition, renovation, remodeling and/or repair of buildings that fall under NYS Industrial Code Rule 56. Projects with an existing survey, and in various stages of activity, must follow NYS DOH “Testing Requirements for Sprayed-on Fireproofing Containing Vermiculite (SOF-V)” (July 22, 2014).
To view the Certificate of Approval for Laboratory Service from New York State, please click here. For additional information or to speak with a member of our vermiculite team, please feel free to call our dedicated vermiculite line at 724.387.1972 or click on the link below.
*LAB.055.1 – Patent Pending 13/918,071